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3 min read

Disruption in Australian school classrooms

Disruptive classroom

A recent Federal Senate inquiry into school disruption, has been initiated by the Liberals and backed by Labor.

The inquiry seeks to explore the "increasing disruption in Australian school classrooms, which is disadvantaging students and contributing to poor literacy and numeracy results for young people, denying them the learning of essential foundational skills to reach their full educational, economic and social potential."

There are concerns that this may become an attack on already overworked teachers.  That  “Instead of seeking to investigate the causes of disruption and student disengagement without prejudice, the terms of reference are loaded with assumptions and value judgements." said Greens Senator Penny Allman-Payne

TPAA will be seeking to submit our member's views to the Education and Employment References Committee to ensure our teachers' voices are heard at a national level. 

The inquiry asks for a report on the following:

  1. the declining ranking of Australia in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) disciplinary climate index, making Australian classrooms amongst the world’s most disorderly;
  2. the impacts, demands and experience of disorderly classrooms on teacher safety, work satisfaction and workforce retention;
  3. teachers’ views on whether or not they are sufficiently empowered and equipped to maintain order in the classroom and what can be done to assist them;
  4. the robustness, quality and extent of initial teacher education to equip teachers with skills and strategies to manage classrooms;
  5. the loss of instructional teacher time because of disorder and distraction in Australian school classrooms;
  6. the impact of disorderly, poorly disciplined classroom environments and school practices on students’ learning, compared with their peers in more disciplined classrooms;
  7. the stagnant and declining results across fundamental disciplines as tested through National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) attributing to poorer school-leaving results and post-school attainment;
  8. how relevant Australian state, territory and federal departments and agencies are working to address this growing challenge;
  9. how leading OECD countries with the highest disciplinary climate index rankings are delivering orderly classrooms to provide strategies on how to reduce distraction and disorder in Australian classrooms; and
  10. any related matter.
These are some valuable 'research' questions but we cannot help but question why there is no request for teacher-led solutions to the issues we currently face.  Wouldn't this be more valuable to the inquiry?